What is the CyberKnife® System?
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment – which delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy – offers new hope to patients worldwide.
Though its name may conjure images of scalpels and surgery, the CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting. In fact, the CyberKnife System is the world’s first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors throughout the body non-invasively. It provides a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery.
How is the CyberKnife System Unique?
The CyberKnife® System is a one-of-a-kind device for several reasons.
First, the CyberKnife System uses image guidance software to track and continually adjust treatment for any patient or tumor movement. This sets it far ahead of other similar treatments. It allows patients to breathe normally and relax comfortably during treatment.
Second, some forms of radiosurgery require rigid head-frames that are screwed into the patient’s skull to minimize any movement. The CyberKnife System does not require such extreme procedures to keep patients in place, and instead relies on sophisticated tracking software, allowing for a much more comfortable and non-invasive treatment.
Third, unlike some radiosurgery systems, which can only treat tumors in the head, the CyberKnife System has unlimited reach to treat a broad range of tumors throughout the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, and kidney.
And finally, the CyberKnife System’s treatment accuracy is unrivaled. Its ability to treat tumors with pin-point accuracy is unmatched by other radiation therapy and radiosurgery systems. The CyberKnife System can essentially “paint” the tumor with radiation allowing it to precisely deliver treatment to the tumor alone, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
What is the Treatment Process?
CyberKnife® treatments involve a team approach in which several specialists participate.
Prior to the procedure, the patient is imaged using a high-resolution CT scan, to determine the size, shape and location of the tumor.
Following scanning, the image data is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife System’s workstation, where the treatment planning begins.
A qualified clinician then uses the CyberKnife software to generate a treatment plan. The plan is used to match the desired radiation dose to the identified tumor location while limiting radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Once the treatment plan has been developed, the patient is ready to undergo the CyberKnife procedure. After arriving at the CyberKnife Center, patients are comfortably positioned on the treatment table. Then the CyberKnife System’s computer-controlled robot will slowly move around the patient to the various locations from which it will deliver radiation to the tumor.
Each treatment session will last between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the type of tumor being treated. If treatment is being delivered in stages, patients will need to return for additional treatments over several days (typically no more than five), as determined by the patients doctor. Patients may experience some minimal side effects, but those often go away within the first week or two after treatment.
Most patients experience minimal to no short-term side effects and often recover quickly. Depending on the treatment site, some patient’s may experience different side effects such as mild fatigue or nausea. The CyberKnife physician will disclose all possible side effects prior to treatment.
Traditional radiation therapy typically delivers radiation to a wide field of tissue in the body resulting in the treatment of both the tumor and a large amount of surrounding healthy tissue. This is necessary because traditional radiation therapy systems did not account for tumor motion and were therefore much less accurate. These wide radiation fields increased the possibility of damage to normal tissue, increasing the risk of side effects following the radiation treatment. To reduce the number of side effects, clinicians were forced to rethink the way traditional radiation therapy was delivered. As a result, the overall radiation dose was reduced and the number of treatments was divided into 30 to 40 sessions, delivered over a period of weeks.
Radiosurgery devices, such as the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, were designed to deliver radiation with extreme accuracy, targeting the tumor with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. The accuracy of the CyberKnife System allows clinicians to deliver very high doses of radiation safely because the size of the radiation field is smaller and only includes the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. This allows for less damage to surrounding healthy tissue and for clinicians to complete treatment in 1 to 5 days vs. the weeks it takes traditional radiation therapy.
A) Unprecedented Targeting Accuracy – Many tumors have proven to move during treatment delivery – even when the patient is immobilized. Using advanced robotic technology and the ability to track tumor motion throughout the treatment, the CyberKnife System can deliver radiation with extreme accuracy by automatically correcting for tumor movement in real-time. Where other technologies rely on static images taken just prior to treatment, the CyberKnife System automatically tracks, detects, and corrects for even the slightest motion that might occur throughout treatment delivery.
B) Unrivaled Conformality and Dose Gradient – Unconstrained by the clockwise / counterclockwise rotations of conventional radiotherapy systems, the robotic mobility of the CyberKnife System enables beams to be delivered from a very wide array of unique angles. By approaching the target from hundreds of different directions, the CyberKnife System sculpts delivered dose precisely to the unique contours of the target while limiting exposure to surrounding critical structures.
C) Unparalleled Healthy Tissue Sparing – As the only system capable of delivering beams that move in real-time with 3D respiratory motion, the CyberKnife System significantly reduces the treatment margins commonplace with other radiation delivery systems. With smaller treatment margins, the CyberKnife System focuses the prescribed dose to the intended target – not the surrounding healthy tissue
Patient benefits include:
- No incision
- No pain
- No anesthesia
- No hospitalization
- Little or no recovery time
- Immediate return to daily activities
Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the CyberKnife System to treat tumors in the head, neck and upper spine in 1999 and tumors anywhere in the body in 2001
Where can I receive treatment?
Gateway Health has numerous treatment locations that they work with, for more information please contact us here
What are the treatable conditions?
Cyberknife is cleared by the FDA for treatment of tumors and lesions anywhere in the body when radiation therapy is indicated. However, patients should consult their physicians to determine if this treatment approach is right for them. Conditions that can be treated with Cyberknife include:
– Primary & Metastatic Brain Tumors
– Spine Cancer
– Spinal Cord Tumors
– Soft Tissue Tumors ( Lung, Kidney, Liver, Pancreas )
– Acoustic Neuromas
– Meningiomas & Skull-base Tumors
– Pituitary Tumors
– Recurrent & Residual Tumors
– Arteriovenous Malformations ( AVMs )
– Functional Disorders, such as Trigeminal Neuralgia
Sample Cyberknife Package includes $14,000
– Physical Consultation
– Doctor fees
– Pre-op examinations
– CT/ MRI Scan and/or X-ray
– Sedation and local anesthesia (if necessary)
– Medical equipment and supplies necessary for the procedure
– Half day hospitalization for each session
– Nursing & Comfort care